• Premier League set to restart on June 17 – reports

    A shareholders’ meeting took place on Thursday.

    28 May 2020, 15:10 CEST

    The Premier League will restart on June 17, according to reports.


    Executives from the 20 top-flight clubs gathered for a shareholders' meeting on Thursday, and it was reported that agreement was reached over the remaining rounds of games to be played. Two rearranged matches – Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal – will be played first, before the first full round of games on the weekend of June 20 and 21, reports said.


    The last action in the Premier League was on March 9, before the competition was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 13. Clubs voted unanimously on protocols for contact training on Wednesday, another step along the road to resumption.


    Four individuals connected to three clubs tested positive for coronavirus in the league's third round of testing, with 1,008 staff from Premier League clubs tested.

  • Born With Pride and Hypothetical star in entries for Kempton on Wednesday

    Exciting pair could clash in Classic Trial on Polytrack.

    28 May 2020, 14:53 CEST

    Born With Pride is among a number of promising types entered for the Classic Trial at Kempton on Wednesday. The daughter of Born To Sea has only Quadrilateral ahead of her with most firms in the ante-post market on the Investec-sponsored Oaks, after a 20-1 success in the Listed Montrose Fillies' Stakes on her only juvenile start in November. The Epsom showpiece is scheduled for July 4 this year and, should racing restart as hoped next week, William Haggas has pencilled in his filly for the 10-furlong contest at the Sunbury venue, which hosts the race this year rather than its traditional home of Sandown. Eleven feature and John Gosden's once-raced colt Hypothetical is another who will command plenty of attention, having impressed on his sole start at Chelmsford in December. Gosden has also entered Godolphin-owned Newbury winner Encipher. Max Vega has been given an entry by Ralph Beckett, while Pyledriver is held in high regard by William Muir. Along with Born With Pride and Hypothetical, other unbeaten runners in contention for the Group Three event are Bright Melody (Charlie Appleby), Cepheus (Brian Meehan) and Yes My Boy (Archie Watson). A quality card also sees the EBF Snowdrop Fillies' Stakes, which has three Gosden possibles in the 27 – Nazeef, Scentasia and Shimmering. With Yarmouth racing on the same day, trainers have again supported both meetings, with 537 entries received – 281 at Kempton and 256 at Yarnouth.

  • Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick retires

    Keswick joined the Gunners board in 2005.

    28 May 2020, 14:43 CEST

    Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick has retired, the club have announced. Keswick, 80, joined the Gunners board in 2005 and was appointed chairman in June 2013 after his predecessor Peter Hill-Wood was forced to step down on health grounds.


    It is understood the club will not seek to appoint a new chairman, with the board now consisting of Stan Kroenke, Josh Kroenke, Lord Harris and Ken Friar. Keswick said: "It has been an honour to be the chairman of this great football club.


    Arsenal has always held a special place in my life and that will remain the case in the future. "I made my plan to retire at the end of this season clear to the board, before the global health crisis we are now experiencing.


    The club is in safe hands with Stan and Josh, the board and the executive team. "I know Arsenal will emerge strongly from this situation and I look forward, like all our supporters around the world, to seeing the team in action as soon as possible." In a statement, Stan and Josh Kroenke said: "We would like to express our immense gratitude for everything Sir Chips has done for Arsenal Football Club as a board member and chairman of the board over the past 15 years. "His extensive business knowledge and experience coupled with his deep love of Arsenal have made him the perfect chairman. It has been a privilege to work with him and he will always be a very welcome visitor when we return to playing matches at Emirates Stadium."

  • Players’ player of the year (2007/2008) – Cristiano Ronaldo

    The Portuguese superstar won the award twice while at Manchester United.

    28 May 2020, 12:00 CEST

    Cristiano Ronaldo's emergence into a world superstar saw him win back-to-back PFA Players' Player of the Year awards in 2007 and 2008.


    The Portuguese had taken time to settle in Manchester following his move to United in 2003, but came good following his escapades at the 2006 World Cup, which made him unpopular across the country. But it was his goals and assists for United in 2006/07 that would have made him even more unpopular with opposition fans as his 17 Premier League goals in 34 games helped him to a first title at Old Trafford. With 17 goals in other competitions, he was the club's top scorer with Wayne Rooney.


    That form won him the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, becoming the first Portuguese player to do so.


    In 2007/08 he took his game to another level becoming the leading man with a staggering 42 goals in all competitions as United won a Premier League and Champions League double.


    Ronaldo scored in the European Cup final against Chelsea and was the tournament's top scorer with eight goals. He became just the second man to win consecutive PFA Players' Player of the Year awards after Thierry Henry had done it in 2003 and 2004.


    The forward spent one more year in English football before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009, going on to become one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

  • Play-off heroes – Ricardo Vaz Te

    The January signing scored a late winner at Wembley to earn the Hammers promotion.

    28 May 2020, 12:00 CEST

    Ricardo Vaz Te was hailed as Sam Allardyce's "best-ever signing" after hitting the goal that took West Ham back into the Premier League in 2012.


    The former Bolton forward had arrived for about GBP 500,000 under four months earlier and struck in the 87th minute to hand the Hammers a 2-1 play-off final win over Blackpool. Allardyce said after the game: "When you take into account the number of goals he has scored and the relatively small fee we got him for, he is possibly my best-ever signing."


    Vaz Te had arrived in east London on transfer-deadline day in January during his breakthrough season in professional football. The Portuguese forward had scored seven goals in seven seasons at Bolton, where he was mainly on the fringes, and netted once in 10 games for Hibernian after leaving Lancashire in search of regular action.


    But he grabbed his chance at Barnsley and a run of 10 goals in nine games helped persuade former Trotters boss Allardyce to sign him in January. Vaz Te netted on his second start, also against Blackpool, and soon hit another purple patch as he struck nine times in seven games to help his new side into the play-offs.


    The then 25-year-old also found the net in an emphatic semi-final triumph over Cardiff before scoring the crucial goal in the Welsh capital days later. Allardyce admitted after the match that West Ham would have had to "slash" the wage bill and offload players to meet new financial fair play rules if they had failed to win promotion at the first attempt.


    Vaz Te went on to score 19 goals in 61 games for the club before leaving in January 2015. He has since spent time in Turkey and China, along with a short spell with Charlton, before returning to his native country to play for top-flight side Portimonense in January this year.

  • Blackburn captain Elliott Bennett and two Fulham players test positive

    Over 1,000 samples were gathered during Championship testing between Monday and Wednesday.

    28 May 2020, 11:42 CEST

    Blackburn captain Elliott Bennett and two unnamed Fulham players have tested positive for coronavirus in the latest round of testing in the Championship.


    The EFL confirmed 1,030 samples from players and staff were gathered at second-tier clubs between Monday and Wednesday of this week, with three positive results coming from two clubs. Blackburn confirmed Bennett had been tested on Monday and was found to have Covid-19, but was asymptomatic. He will now isolate for seven days and will return to training on June 5 if he does not go on to develop symptoms, the club said.


    Bennett said: "I feel fit and healthy. Hopefully this sends out a positive message to the community that perhaps many people have or have had the virus without showing any effects. "I obviously would never have known if we hadn't returned to training and taken the tests, because I don't feel unwell and have got no symptoms whatsoever. "There seems to have been a lot of hysteria about footballers returning to training, but it's not a big deal at all. It's the people who are seriously ill in hospital that we need to worry about, not footballers who are fit and healthy, and who aren't showing any signs of being unwell."


    Fulham confirmed two of their players had also tested positive, but did not name them due to medical confidentiality. The results, which show that well over 99.5 per cent of those tested were negative, is a further boost to the Championship's restart plans, with the competition hoping to resume at some stage next month.


    Votes on curtailing the League One and Two seasons are expected next week. At Premier League level, four individuals from three clubs were found to be Covid-19 positive in the testing round conducted on Monday and Tuesday, which covered 1,008 tests.


    Top-flight clubs voted unanimously in favour of a return to contact training on Wednesday and are meeting again today to discuss wider issues such as the restart date, the rebate to broadcasters, neutral venues and models for curtailment.

  • Nathan Jones returns for second spell at Luton

    The Welshman left for Stoke just 16 months ago.

    28 May 2020, 11:07 CEST

    Nathan Jones is back in the managerial hotseat at Luton, just 16 months after leaving the club for Stoke.


    Having announced former boss Graeme Jones was leaving the Championship club in April, the Welshman has been confirmed as successor on his 47th birthday. Jones had a brief spell at Kenilworth Road as a player in the mid-1990s and enjoyed success there as manager between January 2016 and January 2019, ruffling feathers when leaving the League One promotion hopefuls for Stoke.


    That ill-fated reign at the bet365 Stadium came to an end in November and the former Brighton coach faces an uphill battle to keep the Hatters in the Championship, with the side 23rd and six points from safety ahead of a proposed restart. Luton chief executive Gary Sweet said: "My job is to make sure the club can escape the severe economic impact of the virus and whatever decisions we make now, it is the club that must be put first. "We must do everything we possibly can to stay in the Championship this season. We have just nine games left to climb out of the relegation zone and the squad has to be more than ready. "We need a manager who can hit the ground sprinting – someone who knows us, our players and our environment and someone who knows the league. "There's only one man who has those characteristics and that's Nathan Jones. And there's only one person who should be assisting him at this time – and that's Mick Harford. "Everyone knows exactly what we thought about Nathan when he left for Stoke – we hardly made our disappointment a secret. "Clearly, we couldn't move forward without those issues being mostly corrected and over time, with the board, this has been done. "Nathan has been humble with us and we've repaired our differences, now we want to give Nathan the opportunity to put matters right with players, staff and supporters "The fact remains that Nathan is the best manager we've had at Luton for decades.


    His three years here were revolutionary and enabled us to elevate the club's status beyond our wildest dreams. "But first, to make sure none of that past hard work – from both Nathan and Mick – does not go to waste, we have an immediate job to do. "For the sake of the club, all I ask of supporters is to give him time but also to get behind everyone for these nine games."

  • Playing in empty stadiums will take the soul away from football – Danny Cowley

    The Championship season could continue behind closed doors.

    28 May 2020, 11:06 CEST

    Huddersfield manager Danny Cowley has his reservations about playing behind closed doors as it will "take the soul away from football". Cowley – whose team sit 18th in the Championship – is adamant that it must be safe in stadiums before supporters return to the stands.


    But he is convinced home fans can "influence the outcome" – and the recent Bundesliga games played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic appear to back up his view.


    Since the resumption of the German top-flight earlier this month, there have been 27 games up to and including Wednesday night's fixtures. Of those games, five have been home victories, 10 draws and 12 away wins.


    That is a home win percentage of 18.5 per cent – compared to 43.3 per cent of home wins in the season prior to the delay. Cowley told the PA news agency: "It's the people's game and I think it (playing behind closed doors) will take the soul away from football. "But it is going to be a necessity. I think (having fans back) can be achieved but it is further down the line and it has to be done safely. "The quicker we can get supporters back into the stadiums the better." Cowley is keen on fans being able to watch the games on television in the meantime.


    He added: "In the short term they must be able to get exposure to the game, we have to find a way of getting supporters affordable exposure to the game. Otherwise why are we doing it?" Championship clubs returned to training on Monday, with a testing programme under way.


    Out of more than 1,000 players and staff initially tested at the 24 clubs, two people at Hull tested positive for Covid-19. The results of a second round of 1,030 tests were announced on Thursday, with three positives returning from two clubs.


    Fulham said two of those three were from their staff. It is still unclear when the season will resume for the second-tier competition, but it is looking increasingly more likely it will be some time later in June. Cowley is keen on creating a "sense of belonging" at Huddersfield, similar to the feelgood factor David Wagner brought to the Terriers when he oversaw promotion to the Premier League and their first season in the top-flight. "I think that's the greatest gift we can give," said Cowley. "If we can create a club where everyone is connected and we all have a common goal, it can be really powerful. "Obviously I love the competitive aspect, but I love seeing generations of the same family in the stands watching. "It brings them together. Supporters can influence the outcome."

  • ITV Racing poised to return with three days of high-class action next week

    A total of 21 races to be broadcast live, including 2000 and 1000 Guineas.

    28 May 2020, 10:55 CEST

    ITV Racing is set for a high-profile return next week, with 21 live races to be screened over three days, beginning at Newmarket and Lingfield on Friday. It will be the channel's first broadcast since Thurles in Ireland was shown on March 21 and will hosted by Ed Chamberlin from his home 'studio'. Seven races will be shown each day and taking centre stage on the first afternoon at Newmarket is the Coronation Cup, followed by the Qipco-sponsored 2000 and 1000 Guineas on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Lingfield's Derby and Oaks trials also feature, while the Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle is another highlight of the Saturday fare and the Brigadier Gerard Stakes will be shown from Haydock on Sunday. Francesca Cumani will also be part of ITV's home-based team, as will Jason Weaver and all the direction and production team of the show, using innovative technology and adhering to social-distancing guidelines. Richard Hoiles will be based off site in a commentary booth. The Opening Show will return on 2000 Guineas day, on ITV4 from 9.30-10.30am, presented from home by Oli Bell, who will be joined Weaver, Hoiles and Matt Chapman.

  • Gareth Taylor replaces Nick Cushing as Manchester City Women head coach

    The former Wales and City striker had been in charge of City’s men’s Under-18s side.

    28 May 2020, 09:47 CEST

    Manchester City Women have appointed former Wales international Gareth Taylor as their new manager on a three-year deal. The former City striker has been in charge of the men's Under-18 side for the previous season, having previously overseen the Under-16s. Taylor, who played for the club between 1998 and 2001, will now replace Nick Cushing, who recently joined New York City FC, at the helm of the women's team. "I'm absolutely delighted to have joined Manchester City Women and I'm extremely excited about the challenge ahead with a very talented group of players and staff who have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years," said Taylor, who will be assisted by Alan Mahon. "I'm really honoured to have been appointed to this role and I can't wait to get started with our preparations for another thrilling and competitive Barclays FA WSL season in 2020/21. "I've been very fortunate to have worked with some great people within Manchester City and the Club's Academy so far, but I'm absolutely relishing my new role within City Football Group and I'll be giving everything I have to continue Manchester City's success and growth in the women's game." City's head of women's football Gavin Makel said: "I'm delighted to welcome Gareth into the role of Manchester City Women's head coach. Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to see first-hand the qualities that Gareth possesses. "Not only in terms of his abilities as a coach who develops individuals, but also in the way that he leads, whilst exuberating the values and ethos that we hold dear as a club. "

  • FIFA 20: Team of the Season gems outside the major leagues

    Ronaldo leads the way in Serie A.

    28 May 2020, 09:00 CEST

    Serie A has become the latest major league to be given the Team of the Season (TOTS) treatment in FIFA 20 but it has not had the same impact on the transfer market as the three big releases which preceded it.


    Only two of the 16 TOTS players who are currently trading at over 1 million coins can be found in the Italian top flight. Inevitably one of them is Cristiano Ronaldo, whose card carries a maximum rating of 99 and is trading for more than double the next most expensive item in the promotion. With players chasing the Scudetto failing to set pulses racing, are there any TOTS players from outside of the top leagues who you could turn to instead?


    Better Call Paul


    There is no hiding EA Sports' love for Paulinho. The former Tottenham man was given the Flashback treatment in November with heavily boosted stats and he was featured again in March when he received a Team of the Week Moments card. His latest incarnation has seen his attributes inflated even further, carrying the same overall rating as the top version of iconic compatriot Ronaldinho. Paulinho could well become the 17th TOTS player to break the million coin mark if his maximum price is raised. At the moment, the most that Paulinho can be listed for is 950,000 coins but demand is such that he is selling out at that price. For those who are not able to find the Brazilian on the market, the guaranteed CSL player SBC might be the best chance of getting your hands on him.


    The 60,000 coins it would currently take to complete seems like a fair-priced raffle ticket.


    Planet Telles


    Paulinho is not the only Brazilian who has been given an upgrade that places him among his country's all-time greats. The TOTS version of Porto left-back Alex Telles released last week is rated more highly than all four editions of World Cup winner Roberto Carlos available in FIFA 20. When you add up Telles' 29 in-game stats, there are only two men in the whole game who can better his total of 2,627: Ruud Gullit and Kevin De Bruyne. In the real world, the former Galatasaray man has only Brazil cap to his name but in this virtual plane the sum of his skills is greater than that of Lothar Matthäus or Zinedine Zidane.


    Promes Land


    Marcus Rashford, Felipe Anderson and Serge Gnabry have shone on the flanks this season and been included in their league's Team of the Season as a result, but all three have been given lower ratings than Ajax winger Quincy Promes. With a Maestro chemistry style applied, the Dutchman scores 95 or more in 15 separate categories, including key areas such as Acceleration, Stamina and Finishing. Added to his five-star skills and four-star weak foot, this makes Promes one of the best wingers available in the game. The game's Chemistry mechanic can be a barrier to incorporating players from smaller leagues into a squad, but those from stronger footballing nations like Brazil and the Netherlands are relatively easy to accommodate. A shared nationality with adjacent team-mates will boost Chemistry and the collapsing price of Icon cards has made them an affordable way to provide a perfect link.

  • Football rumours from the media

    The Reds want RB Leipzig’s man but both sides are refusing to compromise.

    28 May 2020, 06:18 CEST

    What the papers say


    Jurgen Klopp is a big fan of Timo Werner but that will not be enough to bring the striker to Liverpool, according to the Daily Mirror. RB Leipzig are refusing to budge on Werner's GBP 50million release clause, while the Merseysiders believe the Germany international is worth less than GBP 30m.


    The 24-year-old can opt to stay at Leipzig until his contract ends in two years or opt to try his luck on a European market – where Barcelona and Inter Milan have previously indicated their interest in him – that has been upended by the pandemic. The Manchester Evening News reports Odion Ighalo has made a personal plea to Shanghai Shenhua requesting permission to stay at Old Trafford until the season ends.


    The striker's deal with Manchester United ends on Sunday and talks between the club and Ighalo's Chinese Super League side have yet to arrive at a solution. The 30-year-old has been a United fan since his days growing up in Nigeria, with confidence reportedly growing in his camp that the former Watford player will be able to finish the current campaign in Manchester. Representatives for Javier Manquillo have spoken with La Liga clubs prior to his Newcastle contract ending next month, says the Newcastle Chronicle.


    The former Liverpool full-back has yet to hold contract talks with the Magpies, prompting him to seek a return to Spain. He was signed from Atletico Madrid by Rafa Benitez in 2017 for GBP 4.2m and has continued to impress under Steve Bruce, despite having a more limited role in the current campaign.


    Sevilla and Real Betis have been approached but neither club has responded with an offer for the 26-year-old. Chelsea could reportedly secure the services of Nicolas Tagliafico for a relatively low GBP 22.4million. The Daily Telegraph says Blues manager Frank Lampard wants a new left-back for his squad and has been considering Leicester's Ben Chilwell. But the 23-year-old is rated at more than GBP 40m and Ajax's Tagliafico, 27, is a much cheaper option.


    Social media round-up


    Players to watch


    Eduardo Camavinga: Metro reports Rennes' French under-21 midfielder, 17, is being targeted by Manchester United and Real Madrid. Ryan Fraser: Tottenham fancy their chances of signing Bournemouth's 26-year-old Scotland winger, according to Football Insider.

  • On this day in 1982: Diego Maradona joined Barcelona for record fee

    Maradona only lasted two seasons at the Nou Camp before moving on to Napoli.

    28 May 2020, 05:00 CEST

    Argentina superstar Diego Maradona moved to Barcelona for a then world-record GBP 5million fee on this day in 1982. It could have been a match made in heaven but Maradona only lasted two seasons at the Nou Camp before moving on to Napoli, where he made much more of an impression and is still revered. Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at Maradona's time with Barcelona.


    Coming to Europe


    The 1982 World Cup in Spain afforded Barcelona fans an early glimpse of Maradona, although the diminutive forward was unable to make his presence felt, shackled and repeatedly fouled by defenders eager to contain him. He scored twice in five games but his volatility also came to the fore after he was sent off for lashing out at Joao Batista as Argentina were eliminated in the second group stage.


    Making an impression


    While he failed to make a positive first impression, Maradona nevertheless seemed to settle at Barcelona, helping them to a treble in domestic cup competitions the year after he arrived. Team-mate Lobo Carrasco once observed: "I remember our early training sessions with him: the rest of the team were so amazed that they just stood and watched him. We all thought ourselves privileged to be witnesses of his genius." Maradona's artistry also saw him applauded by Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu after a superb solo goal in June 1983, a very rare sight.


    Mercurial Maradona


    A bout of hepatitis followed by a broken ankle after an ill-timed tackle by Athletic Bilbao's Andoni Goikoetxea in September 1983 conspired to sideline Maradona, whose career was thought to be threatened by the injury. He recovered and returned to action after three months although the bad blood with Bilbao lingered. In the 1984 Copa del Rey final, Maradona – perhaps angered by another rough tackle by Goikoetxea and taunts from the crowd – incited an on-field brawl between Barca and Bilbao players.


    Leaving Spain and prospering in Italy


    The ugly melee led to a realisation from the Barcelona hierarchy that Maradona could not stay at the club and he was transferred to Napoli for GBP 6.9m – another world record fee – after scoring 38 times in 58 appearances during his time in Spain. He truly flourished in Serie A, helping Napoli to their only two top-flight titles in their history in 1986–87 and 1989–90, as well as the UEFA Cup in 1988–89.

  • Montreal Impact vs Seattle Sounders

    28 May 2020, 00:00 CEST

    There is a 19.7% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Seattle Sounders, at 63.9%, are heavy favorites to beat Montreal Impact who have a 16.4% chance. In simulation wins, Montreal Impact upsets Seattle Sounders by averaging 13.8 shots and 4.1 shots on goal. They average 2.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 1.0 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Seattle Sounders 2.7 to Montreal Impact 1.4.

  • Portland Timbers vs Chicago Fire

    28 May 2020, 00:00 CEST

    There is a 27.2% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Chicago Fire, at 47.2%, are heavy favorites to beat Portland Timbers who have a 25.7% chance. In simulation wins, Portland Timbers upsets Chicago Fire by averaging 14.2 shots and 4.3 shots on goal. They average 2.1 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.6 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Chicago Fire 1.6 to Portland Timbers 1.1.

  • Match Report - Augsburg 0 - 0 Paderborn

    Augsburg and Paderborn shared the points following a goalless draw.

    27 May 2020, 23:52 CEST

    Meanwhile, RB Leipzig were denied second place in the Bundesliga as Krzysztof Piatek struck an 82nd-minute penalty for Hertha Berlin in a 2-2 draw.


    Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha a ninth-minute lead with a well-struck volley but Lukas Klostermann levelled midway through the half with a glancing header.


    Leipzig had Marcel Halstenberg dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour but led thanks to a horrible goalkeeping error from Rune Jarstein, who fumbled Patrik Schick’s shot five minutes later.


    But Piatek had the final word after former Everton man Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha.


    The draw keeps Leipzig in third, two points behind Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.


    Fortuna Dusseldorf piled the pressure on Schalke boss David Wagner with a 2-1 win that eased their own relegation worries.


    Schalke, without a win since January, saw their frustrations deepen as they allowed Dusseldorf to come from behind in a 2-1 defeat – with the aid of more poor goalkeeping from Markus Schubert.


    Wagner’s side led through Weston McKennie’s 53rd-minute header, but 10 minutes later Schubert was at fault as he failed to deal with Kevin Stoger’s free-kick and Rouwen Hennings headed in.


    And five minutes later, Kenan Karaman headed in following a corner to give Uwe Rosler’s side all three points.


    Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.


    Christoph Baumgartner put Hoffenheim ahead 11 minutes in and Cologne’s problems grew when Sebastian Bornauw was dismissed in the 26th minute.


    Baumgartner doubled the lead in the first minute of the second half and Steven Zuber added another two minutes later.


    Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner was the next to see red, five minutes into the second half, helping Cologne get a goal back through Florian Kainz but there would be no comeback.


    Ridle Baku ended a run of 40 Bundesliga games without a goal as he put Mainz in front at Union Berlin, but the match ended in a draw as Marcus Ingvartsen’s free-kick levelled things up.


    Union played more than half the match with 10 men as Robert Andrich was booked twice before the break.

  • Match report - Union Berlin 1 - 1 Mainz 05

    Ridle Baku ended a run of 40 Bundesliga games without a goal as he put Mainz in front at Union Berlin, but the match ended in a draw as Marcus Ingvartsen’s free-kick levelled things up.

    27 May 2020, 23:49 CEST

    Union played more than half the match with 10 men as Robert Andrich was booked twice before the break. 


    Meanwhile, RB Leipzig were denied second place in the Bundesliga as Krzysztof Piatek struck an 82nd-minute penalty for Hertha Berlin in a 2-2 draw.


    Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha a ninth-minute lead with a well-struck volley but Lukas Klostermann levelled midway through the half with a glancing header.


    Leipzig had Marcel Halstenberg dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour but led thanks to a horrible goalkeeping error from Rune Jarstein, who fumbled Patrik Schick’s shot five minutes later.


    But Piatek had the final word after former Everton man Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha.


    The draw keeps Leipzig in third, two points behind Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.


    Fortuna Dusseldorf piled the pressure on Schalke boss David Wagner with a 2-1 win that eased their own relegation worries.


    Schalke, without a win since January, saw their frustrations deepen as they allowed Dusseldorf to come from behind in a 2-1 defeat – with the aid of more poor goalkeeping from Markus Schubert.


    Wagner’s side led through Weston McKennie’s 53rd-minute header, but 10 minutes later Schubert was at fault as he failed to deal with Kevin Stoger’s free-kick and Rouwen Hennings headed in.


    And five minutes later, Kenan Karaman headed in following a corner to give Uwe Rosler’s side all three points.


    Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.


    Christoph Baumgartner put Hoffenheim ahead 11 minutes in and Cologne’s problems grew when Sebastian Bornauw was dismissed in the 26th minute.


    Baumgartner doubled the lead in the first minute of the second half and Steven Zuber added another two minutes later.


    Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner was the next to see red, five minutes into the second half, helping Cologne get a goal back through Florian Kainz but there would be no comeback.


    Augsburg and Paderborn shared the points following a goalless draw.

  • Match Report - Hoffenheim 3 - 1 FC Cologne

    Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.

    27 May 2020, 23:43 CEST

    Christoph Baumgartner put Hoffenheim ahead 11 minutes in and Cologne’s problems grew when Sebastian Bornauw was dismissed in the 26th minute.


    Baumgartner doubled the lead in the first minute of the second half and Steven Zuber added another two minutes later.


    Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner was the next to see red, five minutes into the second half, helping Cologne get a goal back through Florian Kainz but there would be no comeback.


    Ridle Baku ended a run of 40 Bundesliga games without a goal as he put Mainz in front at Union Berlin, but the match ended in a draw as Marcus Ingvartsen’s free-kick levelled things up.


    Union played more than half the match with 10 men as Robert Andrich was booked twice before the break. Augsburg and Paderborn shared the points following a goalless draw.


    RB Leipzig were denied second place in the Bundesliga as Krzysztof Piatek struck an 82nd-minute penalty for Hertha Berlin in a 2-2 draw.


    Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha a ninth-minute lead with a well-struck volley but Lukas Klostermann levelled midway through the half with a glancing header.


    Leipzig had Marcel Halstenberg dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour but led thanks to a horrible goalkeeping error from Rune Jarstein, who fumbled Patrik Schick’s shot five minutes later.


    But Piatek had the final word after former Everton man Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha.


    The draw keeps Leipzig in third, two points behind Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.


    Fortuna Dusseldorf piled the pressure on Schalke boss David Wagner with a 2-1 win that eased their own relegation worries.


    Schalke, without a win since January, saw their frustrations deepen as they allowed Dusseldorf to come from behind in a 2-1 defeat – with the aid of more poor goalkeeping from Markus Schubert.


    Wagner’s side led through Weston McKennie’s 53rd-minute header, but 10 minutes later Schubert was at fault as he failed to deal with Kevin Stoger’s free-kick and Rouwen Hennings headed in.


    And five minutes later, Kenan Karaman headed in following a corner to give Uwe Rosler’s side all three points.


    Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.

  • Match Report - RB Leipzig 2 - 2 Hertha Berlin

    RB Leipzig were denied second place in the Bundesliga as Krzysztof Piatek struck an 82nd-minute penalty for Hertha Berlin in a 2-2 draw.

    27 May 2020, 23:40 CEST

    Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha a ninth-minute lead with a well-struck volley but Lukas Klostermann levelled midway through the half with a glancing header.


    Leipzig had Marcel Halstenberg dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour but led thanks to a horrible goalkeeping error from Rune Jarstein, who fumbled Patrik Schick’s shot five minutes later.


    But Piatek had the final word after former Everton man Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha.


    The draw keeps Leipzig in third, two points behind Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.


    Fortuna Dusseldorf piled the pressure on Schalke boss David Wagner with a 2-1 win that eased their own relegation worries.


    Schalke, without a win since January, saw their frustrations deepen as they allowed Dusseldorf to come from behind in a 2-1 defeat – with the aid of more poor goalkeeping from Markus Schubert.


    Wagner’s side led through Weston McKennie’s 53rd-minute header, but 10 minutes later Schubert was at fault as he failed to deal with Kevin Stoger’s free-kick and Rouwen Hennings headed in.


    And five minutes later, Kenan Karaman headed in following a corner to give Uwe Rosler’s side all three points.


    Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.


    Christoph Baumgartner put Hoffenheim ahead 11 minutes in and Cologne’s problems grew when Sebastian Bornauw was dismissed in the 26th minute.


    Baumgartner doubled the lead in the first minute of the second half and Steven Zuber added another two minutes later.


    Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner was the next to see red, five minutes into the second half, helping Cologne get a goal back through Florian Kainz but there would be no comeback.


    Ridle Baku ended a run of 40 Bundesliga games without a goal as he put Mainz in front at Union Berlin, but the match ended in a draw as Marcus Ingvartsen’s free-kick levelled things up.


    Union played more than half the match with 10 men as Robert Andrich was booked twice before the break. Augsburg and Paderborn shared the points following a goalless draw.

  • Match Report - Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 - 1 Schalke 04

    Fortuna Dusseldorf piled the pressure on Schalke boss David Wagner with a 2-1 win that eased their own relegation worries.

    27 May 2020, 23:38 CEST

    Schalke, without a win since January, saw their frustrations deepen as they allowed Dusseldorf to come from behind in a 2-1 defeat – with the aid of more poor goalkeeping from Markus Schubert.


    Wagner’s side led through Weston McKennie’s 53rd-minute header, but 10 minutes later Schubert was at fault as he failed to deal with Kevin Stoger’s free-kick and Rouwen Hennings headed in.


    And five minutes later, Kenan Karaman headed in following a corner to give Uwe Rosler’s side all three points.


    Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.


    Christoph Baumgartner put Hoffenheim ahead 11 minutes in and Cologne’s problems grew when Sebastian Bornauw was dismissed in the 26th minute.


    Baumgartner doubled the lead in the first minute of the second half and Steven Zuber added another two minutes later.


    Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner was the next to see red, five minutes into the second half, helping Cologne get a goal back through Florian Kainz but there would be no comeback.


    Ridle Baku ended a run of 40 Bundesliga games without a goal as he put Mainz in front at Union Berlin, but the match ended in a draw as Marcus Ingvartsen’s free-kick levelled things up.


    Union played more than half the match with 10 men as Robert Andrich was booked twice before the break. Augsburg and Paderborn shared the points following a goalless draw.


    RB Leipzig were denied second place in the Bundesliga as Krzysztof Piatek struck an 82nd-minute penalty for Hertha Berlin in a 2-2 draw.


    Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha a ninth-minute lead with a well-struck volley but Lukas Klostermann levelled midway through the half with a glancing header.


    Leipzig had Marcel Halstenberg dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour but led thanks to a horrible goalkeeping error from Rune Jarstein, who fumbled Patrik Schick’s shot five minutes later.


    But Piatek had the final word after former Everton man Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha.


    The draw keeps Leipzig in third, two points behind Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

  • Joe Hart took City rejection to heart

    The goalkeeper lost his place at City to Claudio Bravo.

    27 May 2020, 23:01 CEST

    Joe Hart has talked about the impact not feeling wanted by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola had on his mental health.


    The former England goalkeeper, 33, fell out of favour under the Spanish coach in 2016. Guardiola favoured Claudio Bravo over him primarily because he felt his ball-playing skills were stronger to build from the back. Hart, who is now at Burnley, made the admission in a conversation with the Duke of Cambridge in a programme called 'Football, Prince William and our Mental Health' which airs on BBC One on Thursday evening. Asked by the Prince what had been the biggest whack he had endured in his career, Hart said: "It will sound pathetic but it's the truth, it's not playing and not being wanted. "Things happened with the new manager at Manchester City, probably the most important manager in the world. "He didn't even necessarily not like me, he just had a certain aspect which he didn't feel I was up to, and it kind of dropped from there." Hart admits his current struggles to break into the first team at Turf Moor is also tough, but says he is treating it as a "challenge". "It's certainly the lowest point of my footballing career but it's not a dark cloud," he said. "I'm comfortable with what's going on. Yeah I'm sad, yeah I'm disappointed that I'm not playing, because I know what I want to be, I know where I should be, I know what I can bring to the game. "At the moment I'm not being picked, simple as that. You know, at school, not being picked…and that's hard. I feel like right now could be a real dark time for me, but it's not, I see it as a challenge." The Prince, who is president of the Football Association, is heavily involved in the organisation's 'Heads Up' campaign which works to promote around mental health awareness.

  • Augsburg vs Hertha BSC

    27 May 2020, 22:57 CEST

    There is a 25.0% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Hertha BSC, at 41.0%, are solid favorites to beat Augsburg who have a 34.1% chance. In simulation wins, Augsburg upsets Hertha BSC by averaging 11.2 shots and 5.0 shots on goal. They average 2.6 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.8 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Hertha BSC 1.8 to Augsburg 1.6.

  • Father of Aston Villa boss Dean Smith dies at the age of 79

    Ron Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, died after a four-week battle against coronavirus.

    27 May 2020, 21:32 CEST

    The father of Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith has died after contracting Covid-19.


    The Premier League club announced 79-year-old Ron Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, had died after a four-week battle against coronavirus. A club statement read: "The Aston Villa Family are saddened to announce that Ron Smith, the father of our current head coach Dean, has passed away at the age of 79. "Ron, who had recently been living in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia six years ago, contracted coronavirus four weeks ago and after a short spell in hospital passed away with his family at his side. "A lifelong supporter, Ron was a steward at Villa Park for many years and passed on his love of the club down to his children. "As well as being a regular at home games, Ron was also there to witness that greatest of days in May 1982 when Villa lifted the European Cup in Rotterdam. "The thoughts of everyone at the football club are currently with Dean and his family at this most distressing of times and would kindly ask for the family's privacy to be respected."

  • Troy Deeney receives abuse after expressing his concerns over football’s return

    The striker has not returned to training.

    27 May 2020, 21:23 CEST

    Watford skipper Troy Deeney has had to deal with people wishing his baby son gets coronavirus after being targeted for expressing his concerns over football's return.Deeney has been absent from training since Watford and other Premier League clubs returned to non-contact sessions last week. The forward's concerns over potentially passing on Covid-19 to his five-month-old son, who has had breathing difficulties, came even before team-mate Adrian Mariappa and two other Hornets staff tested positive. But the 31-year-old found himself and his family in the firing line during Mental Health Awareness week. "I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets corona,'" Deeney told CNN Sport. "That's the hard part for me. If you respond to that, people then go: 'Ah, we've got him' and they keep doing it. "In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says 'speak up, speak out, please speak', Danny Rose spoke out and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it. "So people see that and go 'woah' and it's not just us that gets it, the missus gets direct messages and you'll be walking down the street and people will be like: 'Oh, I'm at work, you go back to work'."


    Premier League clubs have voted unanimously for a return to contact training following Government approval and that step is set to take place this week. And Deeney accepts he will need to accept some risk. CNN reported he had been speaking to England's deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, about the statistics which show people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. "He's been doing very, very good research and there is a lot of goodwill on his part to tell me, ultimately, that I'm going to be looked after as best as they can and, ultimately, there is going to be some form of risk for all of us going back to work," Deeney said. "Lockdown and the social distancing measures coming down mean people will still always have risk."

  • RB Leipzig fail to move up to second after home draw with Hertha Berlin

    Poland striker Krzysztof Piatek scored a penalty with eight minutes remaining to maintain Hertha’s fine form since the Bundesliga’s return.

    27 May 2020, 20:49 CEST

    RB Leipzig were denied second place in the Bundesliga as Krzysztof Piatek struck an 82nd-minute penalty for Hertha Berlin in a 2-2 draw.


    Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic had given Hertha a ninth-minute lead with a well-struck volley but Lukas Klostermann levelled midway through the half with a glancing header. Leipzig had Marcel Halstenberg dismissed for a second bookable offence just after the hour but led thanks to a horrible goalkeeping error from Rune Jarstein, who fumbled Patrik Schick's shot five minutes later. But Piatek had the final word after former Everton man Ademola Lookman fouled Matheus Cunha. The draw keeps Leipzig in third, two points behind Borussia Dortmund following their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.


    Fortuna Dusseldorf piled the pressure on Schalke boss David Wagner with a 2-1 win that eased their own relegation worries. Schalke, without a win since January, saw their frustrations deepen as they allowed Dusseldorf to come from behind in a 2-1 defeat – with the aid of more poor goalkeeping from Markus Schubert. Wagner's side led through Weston McKennie's 53rd-minute header, but 10 minutes later Schubert was at fault as he failed to deal with Kevin Stoger's free-kick and Rouwen Hennings headed in. And five minutes later, Kenan Karaman headed in following a corner to give Uwe Rosler's side all three points. Hoffenheim are on the fringes of the European places after a 3-1 win over Cologne in which both sides finished with 10 men.


    Christoph Baumgartner put Hoffenheim ahead 11 minutes in and Cologne's problems grew when Sebastian Bornauw was dismissed in the 26th minute. Baumgartner doubled the lead in the first minute of the second half and Steven Zuber added another two minutes later. Hoffenheim captain Benjamin Hubner was the next to see red, five minutes into the second half, helping Cologne get a goal back through Florian Kainz but there would be no comeback. Ridle Baku ended a run of 40 Bundesliga games without a goal as he put Mainz in front at Union Berlin, but the match ended in a draw as Marcus Ingvartsen's free-kick levelled things up. Union played more than half the match with 10 men as Robert Andrich was booked twice before the break. Augsburg and Paderborn shared the points following a goalless draw.

  • William Buick eager for racing restart

    Jockey ready for action ahead of planned return.

    27 May 2020, 18:10 CEST

    William Buick is looking forward to the prospect of racing resuming in Britain next week. The British Horseracing Authority is planning for a restart on Monday, subject to Government approval, and Buick has a big-race ride to look forward to on the opening weekend as Pinatubo will go for gold in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. No racing has taken place in Britain since March 17, but Buick says he is ready for action. "I've been keeping fit as I would normally, riding out most days and I've got a gym set up at home. That's been good for keeping fit, so that's something I'm not really worried about," he said. "I am looking forward to getting back to the daily routine." The BHA published a 33-page document last Saturday outlining the protocols for a return to racing following the coronavirus shutdown. Strict social distancing and hygiene measures will be employed, with jockeys among those who will be required to wear masks on track. Buick expects all riders will adjust to the new regime and follow the guidelines. He added: "I think everyone is very positive and very realistic towards it – I think you just all have to stick together, show solidarity and respect the guidelines that have been set. "They're so important at the moment and probably will be for a while, but if that's what it takes to get racing back, we will all adhere to that."

  • SPFL clubs to discuss reconstruction proposals next week

    Hearts owner Ann Budge has suggested changing the structure from four to three divisions, each with 14 clubs, for two seasons.

    27 May 2020, 17:57 CEST

    Clubs will discuss Scottish league reconstruction proposals next week but Hearts owner Ann Budge's plans already look doomed to fail. Budge has suggested changing the structure from four to three divisions, each with 14 clubs, for two seasons. The plans were discussed at a Scottish Professional Football League meeting on Wednesday but it is the clubs who will determine their fate and there appears little prospect of success. Budge, who is aiming to save Hearts from relegation, will need the backing of 11 of the 12 Premiership clubs and 75 per cent of the remainder. However, top-flight clubs ended earlier discussions on the same topic and the new proposals have received an underwhelming response. Following an SPFL board meeting, a league spokesman said: "The board has now received Ann Budge's paper to clubs on the topic of league reconstruction. "As these matters are ultimately decided by clubs via a democratic process, we will now facilitate a series of divisional meetings, starting with the Premiership on Monday, at which all 42 clubs will have the chance to discuss the proposals in detail." A majority of Premiership clubs wanted a permanent solution when the issue was discussed earlier this month and the plans leave open the prospect of three top-flight teams being relegated in two years' time, a situation unlikely to find favour with the likes of St Mirren and St Johnstone, who helped scupper the initial idea. Championship clubs are also reported to have baulked at the plan and there has been little encouragement in the lower leagues. Although Budge has also stressed she is aiming to save Partick Thistle and Stranraer from an "unjust" relegation, the bottom four clubs in League One would find themselves in the bottom division, which carries with it the threat of dropping out of the league altogether. Budge has acknowledged the uncertainty over whether clubs in the lower leagues can play at all next season and claimed her plan is flexible, depending on which of them are able to field teams. But Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy believes she has misjudged the mood in the lower leagues. McMenemy told BBC Scotland: "I just think Ann's got her timing all wrong. There are so many uncertainties, so many questions, that to restructure now just adds another set of issues and risks to an absolute plethora of unknowns already there." He added: "It does seem to be revolving around Premiership clubs. I can't see a lot has changed since we found out they weren't keen on it two weeks ago. "If you're St Mirren, Hamilton, St Johnstone, Ross County, you're being asked to save Hearts for this season in the Premiership. But you're pretty sure that in a couple of years' time there's going to be at least a double relegation from the Premiership. "If you're a Championship club, then if that league has to go from a 14 back to a 10… and you'd have 16 teams when the two come out of the Premiership. So you potentially have six clubs dropping out of the second tier. Why would the Championship clubs support that?" Clubs are grappling with the financial impact of playing behind closed doors and likely carrying out a series of Covid-19 tests if they were to re-sign players. Elgin chairman Graham Tatters also has little time to consider Budge's plans. "We would want to stick with the status quo," he said. "Some of us are hanging on threads at the moment, so it is hard enough without worrying about reconstruction."

  • Purton treble gives him title edge over Moreira

    Kings Shield stars for champion jockey hopeful.

    27 May 2020, 17:43 CEST

    Kings Shield was the highlight of a treble for Zac Purton at Sha Tin on Wednesday, as the rider pulled three clear of his jockeys' title rival Joao Moreira. With Moreira serving a suspension, Purton took full advantage as he steered the Frankie Lor-trained Kings Shield to a two-and-a-half-length verdict in the Egret Handicap. Kings Shield was previously trained by John Gosden, finishing sixth in the French 2000 Guineas and fifth in the St James's Palace Stakes in 2018. "We might run him one more time this season and then there are no more options," Lor said. "I'll have to talk to the owner but maybe (South) Korea is a possibility for the dirt race there (the Korea Cup), and then we might look ahead to Dubai next year if he shows us that he's good enough. "But with the coronavirus, we just don't know yet if we can go anywhere or not." Purton added: "It was a small field and he had no pressure on him. He got there very easily and it was there for him to put up a performance like that but they've still got to do it. He did it well – it was a nice effort." Purton started the meeting level with Moreira but was quickly off the mark on Coolceleb in the opening Shearwater Handicap while Enfolding was on the mark for the rider in the closing Peacock Handicap.

  • Appleby hails ‘ultimate professional’ Pinatubo

    Unbeaten colt dominates 2000 Guineas market.

    27 May 2020, 17:26 CEST

    Charlie Appleby believes Qipco 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo is the "ultimate professional". The Shamardal colt was unbeaten in six outings last year, culminating in Group One victories in both the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst at Newmarket. Pinatubo was awarded a mark of 128 following his impressive juvenile campaign – making him the highest-rated two-year-old since Celtic Swing in 1994 and putting him ahead of Frankel. Appleby thinks Pinatubo's mindset is what sets him apart ahead of his planned reappearance in next week's Newmarket Classic. He said: "I think his asset is he's the ultimate professional. He's like any sportsman at the top end – you generally don't see them fretting coming into a championship competition, whether it be boxing or golf. "Those cool, calm customers are the ones that will often turn up with their A game and channel their positivity into the match, the swing of the club or the punch of a glove, stuff like that. "Those are his attributes – he just turns off, he's a got a great mind on him. He knows when those gates open, it's game on." Pinatubo is a general 10-11 favourite for the Guineas and has dominated the ante-post market throughout the winter months. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Arizona is his closest market rival as a 7-1 shot, but given that runner finished two lengths behind Pinatubo in the Dewhurst, Appleby's main worry would be the draw on the Rowley Mile. He said: "The draw would be one thing (that concerns me) – at Newmarket they're probably going to come from left to right with the stands rail being the higher numbers – so we would like a draw to help William (Buick, jockey) get into a position where he's comfortable on him. "Without wanting to sound too confident, he's pleasing us, he's the highest-rated two-year-old we've seen in the last 25 years, he looks great, he's won on all ground conditions and more importantly he's won on that track so fortunately he ticks a lot of boxes going into the race. "Let's just hope we can see the Pinatubo we saw as a two-year-old." Pinatubo is also well fancied in the betting for the Investec Derby, which is scheduled to be run at Epsom on July 4. While Appleby thinks Pinatubo's temperament would help his chances of staying 12 furlongs, his sights are purely focused on the Guineas at present. He said: "His mindset gives him every chance of being able to step up in trip – what trip we will find ourselves at is the question I'd love to be able to answer. "The Guineas is our priority and watching him as an individual, you'd say there's a chance of him getting to a mile and a half as he's got the right mindset to be able to do it. He switches off so well. "If or when we cross that bridge of potentially stepping up in trip, he has the mindset to give himself every opportunity." Big-race rider William Buick is also looking forward to Pinatubo's Newmarket return, having been delighted by a racecourse gallop at Chelmsford last week. He said: "I've been very pleased with him, so from my perspective everyone is very happy with him and I'm no different. He's done what's required and he's in good shape and pleasing everyone." Appleby could also have a second string to his bow in Al Suhail. The Dubawi colt won one of his four starts last term and was last seen when being beaten half a length by fellow Godolphin runner Military March in the Autumn Stakes. Appleby added: "The plan is for Al Suhail to participate in the Guineas, hopefully. "We've got 10 days to go, we'll gallop him again this weekend and then we will chat amongst ourselves and make a final decision going into Monday."

  • Ianis Hagi turned down other clubs to sign long-term deal at Rangers

    The midfielder scored three goals in 12 games after arriving from Belgium on loan earlier this year.

    27 May 2020, 17:17 CEST

    Ianis Hagi revealed he dismissed interest from elsewhere before agreeing to sign a long-term deal with Rangers. Genk announced on Tuesday night that Rangers had taken up their option to sign the 21-year-old and the Ibrox club have now stated the formalities of the deal will be completed when the summer transfer window opens. Hagi netted three goals in 12 games after arriving from Belgium on loan earlier this year, the highlight of his spell undoubtedly a comeback Europa League win over Braga in which he scored twice. The Romania international said on the Rangers website: "I am excited about rejoining the squad for pre-season and putting on the famous shirt once again. "There was interest from other clubs, but my priority was always to return to Glasgow and play for Rangers." Hagi scored against Croatia and England as Romania reached the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championships last summer and has followed in the footsteps of father Gheorghe by winning 10 full caps for his country. Rangers boss Steven Gerrard said: "Ianis is recognised throughout Europe as a young, exciting player so to have him join Rangers on a permanent basis is great news. "I was able to develop a relationship with Ianis very quickly, he is a pleasure to coach as he is willing to learn and become better every training session. He has already experienced the pressure and expectation of Ibrox, I know he is ready for next season." Hagi played for Viitorul Constanța, a club owned by his father, either side of a spell with Fiorentina, before joining Genk last summer. Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson said: "I have had numerous conversations with Ianis and his representatives and he made it clear that continuing with Rangers was his absolute focus. "He is not only a huge talent but also a top young professional who is determined to be successful. "We are sure our investment in him will be an effective one as we believe in his ability now whilst also being excited that at 21 years old there is significantly more development to come from him. "When Ianis arrived in January we quickly developed a strong relationship with him and I know how much Steven and the coaches enjoy working with him every day. "The formality of the transfer won't complete until the transfer window opens but we look forward to welcoming Ianis back to Glasgow in the next few weeks alongside the rest of the first-team squad. "Finally, I thank KRC Genk for their openness, flexibility and creativity in all of our discussions. "We secured an exclusive option in January and in recent weeks we have worked with Genk to find a new solution that works for everyone now, given how much the world has changed in the last few months."